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Encyclopedia > Rift

In geology, a rift is a place where the Earth's lithosphere is expanding. Typical features are a central linear downdropped fault segment, called a graben, with parallel normal faulting on either side. The central portion of the rift area commonly contains volcanic rocks and active volcanism is a part of active rift systems. Rifts are located at divergent boundaries between two tectonic plates. Between oceanic plates the rifts occur as oceanic ridges and where these oceanic ridges intersect continental crust rift valleys result as the continent begins to split. Failed rifts are ancient to modern features where continental rifting began, but then failed to continue.


Examples of rifts include:



  Results from FactBites:
 
Great Rift Valley - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (780 words)
It has been created through the rifting and separation of the African and Arabian tectonic plates that began around 35 million years ago in the north, and by the ongoing separation of East Africa from the rest of Africa along the East African Rift, which began about 15 million years ago.
The Gulf of Aden is an eastward continuation of the rift - before the rift opened, the Arabian Peninsula was attached to the Horn of Africa - and from this point the rift continues as part of the Mid-oceanic ridge of the Indian Ocean.
As the lakes in the Eastern Rift have no outlet to the sea, these lakes tend to be shallow and have a high mineral content as the evaporation of water leaves the salts behind.
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